We live and we learn, but sometimes someone needs to splurge for a tripod and shoot a short educational film that we can learn from as we reconsider that whole "living" part. They're doing us a service, really. It just sucks so many of them are oddities that were destined to end up as videos you watch at 3 in the morning while waiting to sober up enough to lay down without drowning in your own sick. Well, for those of you fighting through your pre-sunrise bout with alcohol poisoning, allow me to help by presenting you with ...
#4. I Eat Weeds and Trees
Public broadcast stations don't air commercials in the same way networks do. A lot of times they'll air smaller shows only a minute or two in length between shows. One of these micro-shows that aired on some PBS networks around America featured a man who looked like everyone's dad whose goal, I guess, was to one day eat an entire forest. His name was Mickey Robinson, and he liked to eat weeds and trees. So much so that when someone for some reason decided to let him fill those precious few minutes between reruns of Eastenders and a Martha Stewart, he called his show I Eat Weeds and Trees and taught viewers which wild plants they could eat like this was information people needed so badly it had to be jammed into every free moment the channel had.
To appreciate the odd whimsy of Mickey Robinson all you need to do is watch this clip that I've queued up:
That's it. That's the kind of man we're dealing with. Dad jeans, dad glasses, dad polo, dad-pattern baldness, playing dad peekaboo to open a show. Then, he'd prance about the forest like a sensibly dressed imp, brushing aside used condoms and rain-soaked porn magazines to find a leaf to munch on. That perfectly explains why he teases the exciting show to come in the cold open of one episode by saying: "I'll be eating a lot of acorns on this edition of I Eat Weeds and Trees!" Acorns are fucking exhilarating to him. The fact he gets to eat a lot of them for the episode is a treat beyond anything he can imagine.
The show isn't exactly thrilling, but Mickey is so happy to have finally found a way to combine the power of his incredible voice and his passion for eating shit off the ground that it becomes entertaining. He loves this job. I know for a fact because he told me:
This video series would be deeply fascinating if you found it while on a marijuana spirit quest through the woods and you got bored in hour two so you started Googling which plants you could eat. If you do go on a marijuana spirit quest, and you're smoking a strain you're not familiar with, please consult a botanist.
#3. What's A Period?
Look, I don't know the first thing about teaching mentally disabled children about periods. But there has to be a better way to do it then by pulling a girl with Down syndrome into a bathroom, yanking out your giant bloody pad and shoving it in the kid's face. Maybe that's the only way you can do it. Maybe the medical community has yet to devise a better way to teach the mentally challenged youth of America about menstruation then to grab them and yell, "Look at it! LOOK AT IT!"
That's what happened in What's a Period?, an educational film with wonderful intentions and good lessons about feminine hygiene products but with a tone of a hallucination during health class. Health videos like these all share one bizarre trait: everyone involved in the fictional scenario is unnervingly open to discussion about topics that normally make people uncomfortable. All members of the little girl's family appear to be menstruation robots programed to spit out worthwhile menstruation information like they're animatronic puppets on a log flume ride called Menstruation Mountain.
Don't forget your poncho!
The sentence "blood from inside of my body comes outside from an opening between my legs" is repeated so often everyone comes off like aliens who can only speak in literal definitions because they learned how to speak human English by absorbing a dictionary's knowledge. The whole thing is so routine and mechanical this has to be the Groundhog Day-like hell this family has been cursed to relive over and over, and we're watching them just starting to notice something weird is going on. They are doomed to forever teach a girl with downs syndrome that she will leak blood for one week a month for the foreseeable future.